The children are so precious! We spent the day being showered with flowers. All of them were marigolds. They made them into garlands and put them around our necks. They tied them in lovely little bouquets for us. The front dash of the car was piled high with our flowers. It was the children’s way of thanking us for coming to see them. It was also the way that our friend Tika greeted us at the airport when we landed yesterday. He gave us beautiful garlands of flowers to welcome us to Nepal; and so, I have named us the Marigold Queens. The children honor us with their kindness and we wish to honor Jesus with our service.
ON THE WAY HERE
I have often had many exciting opportunities as I have traveled to and from a country. However, our trip to Nepal blessed us with an abundance of occasions to talk about Jesus. In the Atlanta airport, I talked with a retired Israeli soldier who did not believe in God’s existence. I explained to him how I put my trust in Jesus and encouraged him to consider the possibility that God could do something wonderful in his life. This conversation lasted for about 30 minutes. Please pray for this man to discover that God truly exists. Please ask Jesus to reveal Himself to him.
We had a brief conversation with a young man from Germany while flying to India. Please ask God to make the truths he heard take root in his heart.
As I was being searched by an Indian security guard, she began to ask very good questions about my faith. She saw my cross and said, “You are a Christian!” She was obviously a Hindu and was wearing a temple blessing mark on her forehead. Still, she was very interested to learn more about Jesus. We stood in the security booth a long time talking about the one true God and His only Son, Jesus Christ. Please pray for God to grow her hunger into deep faith.
Because we had an extremely long layover in the Delhi airport, we booked a transit room so we could get some proper rest before the next long flight. At this point, we had already flown 16.5 hours between two flights. The hotel sent a young man to help us navigate all of the paperwork that was required to pass through the Delhi airport on our way to Nepal. We had a very good opportunity to talk with him and he was hungry to learn about Jesus. His name is Akaash and it means Sky in Hindi. He has members of his family who know Jesus but he was sure he had not met Jesus. He knew things about God and about Jesus but he had no personal relationship. We left our conversation by asking him to go to the puppet website and read the page titled, “Who Is Jesus?”. Please pray for Akaash, both of us felt that he is very close to true faith as God seemed to be pouring His Spirit on the time we had together.
At the airport, we grabbed a bite to eat as we prepared to leave for Kathmandu. A lady came up to me and asked me if I meditated. I asked her why she asked me that question. She said it was because of the way my face looked. I explained to her that I spend a lot of time talking to Jesus my Savior and God my Father. The truth is that I am always asking God to fill my face with His light. Her question gave us a sweet opportunity to talk to her about her need for Jesus. Please ask the Father that she would discover the joy of meditating on Jesus.
As we sat in the airport waiting for our last flight, I confess that I was so tired I was not aware of who was around me. I fell asleep on a chair. But, Anna was still alert and she had a wonderful opportunity to share with two Mormons from Utah. I have asked Anna to write about her experience:
This father and daughter pair was very friendly and talkative. Because our flight was divinely delayed, we were able to talk for over 2 hours. Throughout our conversation we talked about the fundamentals of our faiths, the many similarities and about the differences. The daughter and I bonded over both of us planning weddings for March! It is obvious they are very devout in their faith, but still they seem lost. They were willing to admit their beliefs held many inconsistencies, yet did not seem bothered by this. Please pray they continue to search these things out and that God reveals the one true King to them.
WHO IS JESUS?
Today, we did three shows in different villages in very remote areas. Our friend, Tik, had visited the children in one village only a week ago and asked them if they had heard of Jesus. Their response was, “Who is Jesus?”. In all three of these places, the children and villagers who attended the shows were hearing about Jesus Christ for the first time!
In one place, we met the Elder of the village who was also the first person from there to come to faith. In the beginning, the Hindu villagers persecuted him and did not want anything to do with his new-found faith. They even forbid him to use the local well and forced him to walk a long distance to the river to haul water for his family. Over time, his Godly character won their respect and they made him in charge of the village.
At every show, the children listened attentively and were really hungry to hear the stories from the Bible. I believe that these children’s hunger for the Gospel explains why we had so much spiritual attack today. They were really listening and this never makes our enemy happy. To reach them, we ran out of paved road and drove quite a distance on a rough, dirt road through a jungle. This type of journey made our day a little more difficult. It didn’t help that I fell down climbing up a hill to a village school. I also managed to walk into a barbed wire fence. In my defense, the wire was strung at 5 feet. I could not imagine why anyone would put a fence at that height. We had trouble with the PA systems and could not find some equipment we needed. In other words, it was a typical first day. Everything went wrong, but somehow God made everything right and many children heard about Jesus.
I hope our description of today motivates all of you to be more faithful in your prayers as we really need you kneeling with us so that we can stand.
A BROKEN STICK
When we reached the last show of the day, I watched a man chasing children across the school yard with a big stick. This never makes me happy, and I was trying to pray and decide on the best way to deal with this situation. Then I saw that he had given his stick to a young boy and he was threatening every young child around him. So I crossed the school yard, intent about getting that stick. All of the children ran in the classroom and he hid the stick from me. However, one little girl that he had been threatening showed me where he was hiding it. I broke the stick in half in front of the little boy and made very clear to him this behavior was not acceptable. I went back to where our team was setting up and threw the broken stick under the table. All of the teachers and the principal noticed what I did. By the way, it was the principal’s stick.
You are probably thinking that everything went badly after this, but you would be wrong. The children listened, but the principal and the teachers seemed to be listening with the most interest. I have learned that it is never fair to take something away from someone unless you offer them another way to deal with the problem. I assumed that the teachers and the principal simply knew no other way to deal with misbehavior. So, after the puppet show, Tik and I met privately with the staff and offered them some other ideas they could use instead of hitting the children. I was really praying because I was concerned that they would receive these ideas and stop hurting the children. All of the children are from desperately poor families where alcoholism is a common problem. They experience a lot of abuse. I challenged them to make the school a safe place, a refuge for the children. To my amazement, an older lady who was listening run up to me as I finished and hugged my neck in front of everyone. She said, “We’ve had a great talk! We’ve had a great talk!” Then the principal disappeared and returned with 3 scarves. He places these around our necks as a way to honor us and to show his approval of what had happened. The teachers clapped. Tik felt very strongly that that school would become a place of good change where the children would be safer. It is near to his church so he can return there and offer them more instruction.
Please pray for this place and keep us in your prayers.
Linda, Anna and Tika Ram Baral